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Interesting Facts

Thick storage roots are rich in Vitamin A.  Sweet potatoes are often confused with yams.  Yams belong to an entirely different plant family and are usually not grown in North America.

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Sweet Potato   Georgia Jet (Ipomoea batatas)

Well-suited to the Northeast. Heavy crop of large tubers in just 90 days. Deep orange, moist flesh. Red skin.

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Plant Types: Perennial, Tropical, Vegetable, Vine
Light: Full Sun
Height: 20 feet
Zones: 11a to 12b
Bloom Seasons: Early summer, Mid summer, Late summer, Early fall, Mid fall, Late fall
Special Features: Edible
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
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Plant Care

Propagate sweet potatoes from small plants called slips.  Plant 2 weeks after the last frost date in your area, when the air temperature is 65°F or higher.  Create a raised bed.  Amend soil with compost before planting.  Space 12-18" apart in rows 4 ft apart for vining types, 2.5 ft apart for bush types.

In cooler areas, it is possible to lay black plastic cover over the raised bed 2 weeks prior to planting in order to warm the soil.  Then, plant slips through holes poked in the plastic.  Space well.


Sweet potatoes grow during the frost-free season, and may be harvested after 100 or so days, depending on the cultivar. You may also harvest some of the roots early, as long as most of the plant is left in place.

Plant Growth:

Sweet potatoes are perennials grown as warm season annuals.  Does best with an air temperature of 80°F.  Needs at least a 4 month growing season with warm days and nights.


The flowers of Morning Glories usually last a single day, unfurling in the morning and fading later in the day. Moonflowers (I. alba) however bloom in the late evening. The blooms of Ipomoea may attract butterflies, moths, and occasionally hummingbirds.

Soil and Irrigation:

Slightly acidic soil is best.  Water regularly during the growing season for good results, but only needs moderate water at other times. Do not water sweet potatoes the last 3 weeks before harvest.


Use 1.25-2.25 pounds of 5-10-10 fertilizer per 100 square feet, 2-3 weeks after planting, depending on the fertility of the soil. Put in bands 3-4" wide 4" away from the plants, 3" deep. Avoid fertilizers rich in nitrogen and manure.


Hand weed around plants until vines begin to run and can out compete other plants.


Mice will sometimes eat sweet potatoes.  Best to grow disease resistant varieties.  Avoid root rot diseases further by rotating crops every 3 years, removing crop debris in fall, growing in raised beds, and keeping the soil slightly acidic.